In order to increase the employment of visually impaired citizens, on November 2nd, Taichung City Government held a press conference to encourage the visually impaired to join the employment market, for example, the massage services. Jason Hu, the Mayor, attended the news conference and encouraged the visually impaired citizens to walk out of home and contribute their talents to the general public. He promised that Taichung City Government would fully support them with resources to create employment opportunities for them.
The press conference was open with a ceremony that the Jason Hu (Mayor), Lai Su-huei (Director of Labor Affairs), Chang Kuo-huei (Director of Department of Social Affairs) and the distinguished disabled laborers or workers��"Jiang Ying-jay (lecturer of the Department of Special Education of National Taichung University), Yin Yin-fen (contract lecturer of the Graduate Institute of Education for Students with Mild Disabilities of National Changhua University of Education), Chen Wan-ying (operator of the Citizen’s Hot Lines of Taichung City Government), Huang Hao-jan (employment consultant of the Eden Foundation Taichung City Branch Office) , Wang Chueh-yun (social worker of Taichung Parents’ Association for Visually Impaired Students) and the labor mascot tearing down glasses shaped stickers from the bulletin of a smiling eye as a symbol that the city government will help and work as a guide to help the visually impaired laborers to explore the world with their hearts.
The organizer of the new conference also arranged shows by the Chunghwa Chimin Traditional Chinese Music Orchestra and Black Sun Glasses Band. The music led the audience into the beautiful world of music.
Jason wore sunglasses with smiling eyes stickers when he gave his speech. He said that once he was invited by Cheng Yo-jiang (City Councilor) and Liu Ching-wei (Chairman of Taichung Blind Union) to take the part of a blind man to cross a road with the assistance of others. He was very impressed with the experience of losing visibility and the fear of not having any guidance.
Jason Hu said that, according to the latest Interpretation of the Grand Justices, lay people are entitled to engage in massage services. That is, after 2 years, the massage service job opportunities would be open to normal workers and the blind massage service workers’ job opportunities would be threatened by competition from normal workers. In order to decrease the impacts on the visually impaired workers, Taichung City Government would fully support them in regards to employment.
In order to strengthen the market competency, the Department of Labor Affairs of Taichung City Government has gradually increased budgets regarding providing assistance to the visually impaired massage service workers, since 2004. The budgets were allocated from the “employment consultancy” to “business operation and marketing advice”. Many experts and scholars were hired to provide on-site advice. Also Taichung City Government sponsored related workshops and many promotion activities to enhance the visually disabled massage workers motives and abilities to proactively attract customers with good quality services instead of waiting for them to serve.